Five years after returning to the Triangle following stints in New York and Los Angeles, North Carolina native and Rhode Island School of Design graduate Joel Bergquist is making his debut in the Triangle visual arts scene with his first show at Raleigh's Gallery C. The 16 acrylic-on-canvas paintings comprising "The Blue Paintings" series consist of a familiar word stenciled in the center of an expanse of water or sky ("Whale" is pictured above). Bergquist says he used the words only as a starting point for something larger, "a spirit or soul." "By my choosing to represent the subject with a word instead of images, the viewer is allowed complete freedom to see the subject in beauty, in harmony, unbiased by the direct references of the artist," Bergquist says. This exhibition opens June 14 and continues through July 9. Call Gallery C at 828-3165 for details.